I’ve been married to the most amazing man in the world for ten months. But if you’ve asked me over the past ten months how married life is, you’ve probably gotten a (possibly) too real answer from me: it is a lot harder than I expected!
Allow me to back up and share our love story. I first signed up for eHarmony in 2012. It was certainly an interesting experience! I met someone and we dated long distance for about six months. I thought I had found ‘the one.’ He was not at all what I expected but I thought, “God knows best. Maybe what I wanted isn’t what’s right for me.” Long story short, God was not asking me to settle for something that He knew wouldn’t satisfy me (and here is where I shout, thank God!!!!!). Over the next year or so, I met some great people and some … Well, odd people (what can you expect? The dating world is full of odd people, no matter how you meet them!). But when it came to the point where I was meeting more people on the “odd” side than the great side, I took a break.
I was becoming incredibly discouraged. I wanted so badly to meet the right man. In October of 2014, I asked one of my great friends and mentors to meet with me– I needed someone to hear my heart and maybe give me a bit of hope. And she did just that. She listened, she sympathized and she spoke truth and hope back into my life. She told me that she felt I was in my eleventh hour and I was just on the other side of meeting the right man. Then she said something shocking: she felt I was supposed to give eHarmony one more try.
On October 27, 2014 I signed up yet again for eHarmony and less than two hours later I had a message from Ricky, my future husband; but I’m getting ahead of myself! I also received some communications from another man. We seemed to have a lot in common and even though he didn’t live in the same state as me, he happened to have plans for the weekend that would take him through the area where I lived. So we met on the 31st for a brief date. Again, long story short, it wasn’t a love match. And I found myself more discouraged than before.
I decided to continue communicating with Ricky and put the phone number he had given me to good use. We decided to meet Sunday, November 2nd for some coffee. But after being so disappointed with how things went with my date on Friday, I decided not to tell anyone I was meeting another guy (don’t worry, I did end up telling my sister where I was going before the date- safety first!).
We had such a fun date! From the moment we started talking, I felt completely comfortable. I felt as if I had known him for years. We were laughing and teasing each other (when we went to pay for our order, he said “you got this, right?” I loved it. Repartee goes a long way, fellas!).
We had two more dates that week. I was so nervous the second date I was shaking and couldn’t eat. And the third date, well let’s just say I cried when I got home. I thought it was over. Meanwhile, Ricky thought they were the best dates ever and kept texting me. If you ever needed proof that guys and girls brains are wired differently, we were a perfect case study.
By the next Sunday, things had turned a corner and we officially started dating November 12th. Thus began our whirlwind romance. We began planning our wedding in May and before we even got engaged, we had booked our venue and I had ordered my wedding dress. June 22nd, Ricky proposed to me in a beautiful park, on a bench that he had built.
On October 23, 2015 I married my best friend. It was a beautiful day that meant so much to me and Ricky.
Before we got married, plenty of people told us that marriage was going to be difficult, blah, blah, blah … But Ricky and I always smiled at each other, convinced we were going to be the exception to the rule. We were best friends, after all. We were fairly miserable when we couldn’t be together, we made each other laugh constantly and we made those around us nearly nauseous with our affectionate ways. What could possibly go wrong? A lot, in fact.
I’ve struggled with stomach problems as far back as I can remember and these past ten months have been particularly trying. There have been days that I’ve been in such pain, I couldn’t get out of bed. We’ve been to doctors, through testing and diet changes and we still aren’t sure what is the cause of my stomach distress.
Ricky’s car was stolen and nearly totaled several years ago and this was the year it decided to slowly collapse, causing us great financial stress.
Ricky took a second job on the weekends and I’ve worked two jobs this summer. We’ve felt pulled in a million directions and find ourselves seemingly spending less quality time together than we did when we were dating/engaged.
And then there’s the little matter of learning how to run a household together.
I’m not looking for a pity party and I don’t think our circumstances are terribly unique. But the truth of the matter is, no matter how perfect a relationship may be, marriage is work. It requires unconditional love, a willingness to sacrifice and a commitment to constant communication. It’s hard. It’s messy. But it’s the greatest adventure of my life and there is no one else I would want to do this with- Ricky is my forever love. And I commit to thanking God for him everyday.
I’m writing this for three reasons:
- I want to encourage those of you in similar situations that you are not alone. It’s okay to feel like things aren’t picture perfect. Keep working at it because it is worth it.
- I want to encourage those of you in relationships considering marriage to think long term. Is the person you’re with going to love and support you at your lowest? Marriage is full of beauty, but it is also challenging. You both have to be willing to tackle all aspects of marriage.
- I want to thank my husband. Ricky, you are the most selfless man. You have loved me at my lowest. You have gone above and beyond to help me feel healthier. You love my family as your own. You push me when I need it. You strive to improve our communication on a daily basis. You encourage me in my dreams and believe in me more than I believe in myself. You have stuck by me and I can look to the future with confidence knowing that you will be by my side through whatever else may come our way. I can’t wait to see what the next part of our journey holds for us! Thank you for loving me in such a way that even though life isn’t always easy, you always make me feel cherished. I love you, now and always.
Love and marriage are two of the greatest gifts. And on the days when I lose sight of that, I vow to reflect on our love story and the wonder of how God brought us together.